Steve Sachs (via Instapundit) has a thoughtful post in which he compares Wesley Clark’s victory op-ed to his speech some months later criticizing the decision to go to war. He considers, but dismisses, the idea that Clark’s thought might be consistent, though complex. [Scroll down one item for more on that general issue.]
Sachs makes, I think, at least one plain error. He contrasts Clark’s later critique of the haste with which the war was started with his earlier praise for the decision to move on Baghdad in March rather than waiting until more ground troops were in place. But those weren’t at all the same decision.
It’s perfectly consistent to say that the war could and should have been postponed until the fall, but that, having started it in the winter, it was wise to take the enemy capital quickly rather than slowly.
Sachs also thinks it inconsistent for Clark to praise Bush and Blair for boldness and resolve, while criticizing the substance of their decision. He points out that Howard Dean, for example, would never praise Bush for his “resolve.” That’s right, of course. Dean wouldn’t. But that suggests to me merely that Clark is more generous in spirit than Dean, or than the average politician.
Perhaps that’s why Glenn Reynolds finds Clark “a hard guy to pin down.”
Magnanimity, combined with pugnacity, is not a bad thing in a leader. (See under “Churchill, Winston.”)